COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: Many years ago, North House started a group called the Uxbridge Coalition Against Poverty. This group is made up of organizations, community members and volunteers who’s goal is to create a ‘Township of Uxbridge where poverty does not exist.’

Their mission is to create a ‘systemic change’, eliminating poverty using education and advocacy. They also plan to eliminate poverty by working with many community members and the government.

“Every resident of Uxbridge deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” wrote North House, in a presentation they delivered to Uxbridge Council.

According to North House, many factors have affected people’s quality of life and living conditions throughout the Township of Uxbridge; the tornado, COVID-19 and the rising cost of housing prices throughout Durham Region are to name a few.

Many people cannot afford to live within the Uxbridge community; especially new or first-time homebuyers. In addition, discrimination still exists for people facing homelessness.

“Together, we can look at short and long-term options to create more housing options,” said Mona Emond, Executive Director of North House.

North House has been a registered charity since 2004 and services North Durham Region, Brock, Uxbridge and Scugog Townships.

“We assist people in our community who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless,” explained Ms. Emond.

North House’s top ‘strategic objective’ is to lead the housing support agenda in North Durham.

“We recognize housing supply is an issue, housing affordability continues to be an ongoing concern, and creative solutions are needed to begin to meet the challenge,” said Sarah Alton, Durham Region Corporate Communications.

According to them, the use of house trailers was a “short-term” solution, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was primarily so healthcare workers could maintain safe living arrangements with their families during the pandemic.

Basement apartments and coach houses, such as Tiny Homes, are two other ways a permanent, new housing supply can be provided in existing communities.

“House trailers and mobile homes are not designed nor intended to be a permanent housing solution,” said Ms. Alton.

New homes must comply with the Ontario Building Code (OBC), ensuring permanent homes are safe and designed to withstand all seasonal conditions.

According to the OBC, all permanent homes must have acceptable on-site water and sanitary hookups, a permanent foundation, and can be safely and appropriately heated.

Ms. Alton said tiny homes should not be confused with trailers or mobile homes parked in a resident’s driveway.

“Tiny homes are permanent buildings, constructed on foundations with permanent sewer and water hookups [which] comply with the OBC for residential occupancy,” said Durham Region Corporate Communications.

In the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, tiny homes are allowed in all zones, as long as the zones permit residential dwellings.

For more information, visit the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands website, at leeds1000islands.ca.